While Central Railway’s cancellation of mega blocks over the past weeks may have made commuters happy, officials say doing so has been depriving them of time to maintain the tracks and other equipment, resulting in frequent technical failures. Holidays, festivals and sudden developments have been forcing the CR authorities to cancel mega blocks at the last moment.
On Tuesday, there was a Unit failure in a local train, which left it stranded between Sewri and Cotton Green stations on the Harbour line, forcing people to get off and walk on the tracks. File pic for representation
The blocks, which are usually held on Sunday, facilitate the maintenance of tracks, overhead cables, rakes and other equipment. They are necessary, as the number of services operated in Mumbai is substantial and there is only a two-hour block in the night when trains don’t operate and maintenance activities can be undertaken, said officials.
Not being able to hold the mega blocks has resulted in derailment of coaches, failures in overhead cables and signals and even problems inside the motor coaches of local trains. On Tuesday, for instance, there was a Unit failure problem with the motor coach in a local train, which left it stranded between Sewri and Cotton Green stations on the Harbour line.
“The problem took place at 1.30 pm and went on till 1.53 pm. We had to cancel five services due to this,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, CR. During this time, people were seen walking on the tracks or making their way to the road parallel to the tracks to continue their journey.
On September 13, a Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-bound slow local train from Panvel got derailed when two of its wheels jumped the tracks as it was entering the station. This threw the entire system out of gear and CR authorities had to cancel the mega block at the last moment. The derailment led to chaos at various stations across the Harbour and Main lines.
On September 3, there were two cases of rail fractures one each on the main line and Harbour line and, on September 2, the overhead electrification (OHE) wire had snapped between Ghatkopar and Vikhroli.
“We have not been getting time to carry out mega blocks, leading to these failures,” justified a senior CR official.